James Conway is an active musician in the Chicago music scene. He plays in several formats but mainly solo acoustic and with his Celtic power trio, The Boils. Heavily influenced by acoustic greats such as Neil Young, Merle Travis, Bo Carter, and Mississippi Fred McDowell, James uses fingerpicking, slide guitar, rack-harmonica, and a variety of tunings to perform tasty renditions of songs from the folk and country blues genres. In the Celtic scene, Conway plays the traditional dance music of Ireland on tin whistles and harmonicas. Playing the fast-tempo reels and jigs on the mouth harp isn’t a common or easy feat but James does it convincingly using advanced techniques he learned from local blues/jazz harp heroes such as Junior Wells, Sugar Blue, and Howard Levy.
James Conway does a variety of musically instructional stuff (workshops, seminars, private lessons) at places in his hood and beyond such as Hogeye Music, Old Town School of Folk Music, Northwestern University, and SPAH(Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica). James has performed and/or taught at places such as: Les Harmonicales Festival(France), An Ri Ra Festival(Butte, Montana), Steppenwolf Theater, Long Wharf Theater, The Indy Palladium, and Wicker Park’s Smoke Daddy. Conway received both a Fellowship Award and a Master/Apprenticeship Award from the Illinois Arts Council during one of his rare productive periods. James Conway has an endorsement with Hohner Harmonica.